August 4, 1987
Had a bunny in the side yard, a long-legged lanky thing. It did eat one carrot stick, and Erich ate the rest.
Saturday, August 8, 1987
Picked up Kyle and Erich at 9:00, and stopped at the newly renovated LaSalle Bakery for Danishes for breakfast. After the boys had their infusion of TV, we went to the Pensa’s pool for an hour.
After lunch we drove north on RI/MA-146 on a hot and humid day where rain was forecast. Took I-290 to I-190 in Worcester, MA, and exited to head toward a hill that looked familiar to Kent. We ended up in a dead end, but circled around to reach the hill, to find a large steel and glass building with a set of armor on the top of one corner, the John Woodman Higgins Armory Museum.
|Higgins Armory Museum|
|Higgins Armory Museum|
Higgins worked in metal plating and at the turn of the century was collecting examples of metal plating from early armor and weapons to modern day usage on automobiles and planes. The collection became too large for his house, so in 1929 he had this building constructed to resemble a Gothic castle. The collection was housed on the top two floors, and the bottom two floors housed the offices for his manufacturing company. The receptionist took $3.75 per adult and $2.50 per child, and pointed the way to an elevator to start the tour on the fourth floor.
|Higgins Armory Museum tickets|
We passed spears and models of Japanese armor. One spear had a trapdoor effect where the victim’s neck would slide into a ring lined with pointed studs, but couldn’t slide back out.
|Sketch of the spear|
The elevator took us up to the castle parapet or balcony overlooking the Great Hall. Saw examples of armor from ancient to modern day, and armor for children and animals. There was a brief chronology of weaponry from the time before Christ to medieval to Renaissance Europe, up to guns. There were also hunting implements. We went down to the Great Hall with tapestries and paintings on the walls along with spears and shields. Also stained glass windows. Saw lots of armor, including from Feudal Japan (with funny masks) to ancient Roman and Greek, but mostly European. At 14:30, we were directed to the first floor to view a movie. First a man talked about the making of armor, the steel plates, custom fitting, open joints, and he demonstrated the strength of chain mail by using a sword to saw and poke into it while resting it on the gloved hand of a boy volunteer. The movie was about English armor and showed a knight being dressed. Intricate means of “snapping” the pieces together. A bit of engineering here! The knight demonstrated his flexibility and ease of mounting a horse. Afterwards, the guide explained the three types of armor: combat, parade, and jousting. He explained that jousting was originally a training method, but became a sport, the object being to knock the opponent off his horse. The guide began answering questions, and we left to finish touring the Great Hall. Noted how small the armor seemed, and there was a table to feel the chain mail and the metal of the chest piece and helmet. There was also a helmet set up so that you could stick your head under it and experience the limited vision. The museum also had medieval wooden sculptures, a couple chastity belts, and a display of modern clothing designed by students inspired by medieval clothing. We saw two mannequins facing each other with swords, and two on horses aimed at each other, which apparently are used in a sound and light show at 16:00.We went down to the second floor where activities were set up for children: game tables for chess and checkers, and child-size medieval clothing. One could put on gloves to handle some helmets and armored gloves, and some plastic-jointed armor to try on and experience the flexibility of movement. There were 6-foot high puzzles to match the parts of various armored personae. For a fee, one could do brass rubbings. There was a display of police armor, and sports armor. In the hall were commemorative prints from an 1829 jousting tournament in Germany. On the first floor was a small gift shop, and we left the museum about 15:15.
We took I-290 to MA/RI-146 to head home, stopping at the North Smithfield driving range to hit a bucket of golf balls.